Tag Archives: Sephora

End of the summer? – Start Preparing…

29 Aug

summer-is-almost-over

You have probably been to the store and have started to see school supplies in the aisle. If you live someplace other than where I am (upstate NY), schools may already be in session. That means it is time to start thinking about cooler temperatures and autumn colors. Don’t worry—you definitely have some time. We will still enjoy some warmer temps before that fall chill hits the air. (FYI, this is a great time to start hunting for summer/year round necessities that may be on clearance) But before the hustle and bustle of back to school, starting college, soccer mom schedules or anything else overtakes your precious little bit of free time, you may want to keep a look out for a few of these goodies to prepare yourself ahead of time!
Foot Peel FootCream AloeSox



1) Time for post-summer home pedicures. You have been wearing sandals all season and your feet feel like leather. It happens to many of us, including me. I try to keep my feet soft, smooth and healthy all season but I really want to make sure they are in great condition before boots weather hit. I suggest an alpha-hydroxy foot cream that sloughs off the dead skin without harsh abrasives. Then follow with an extra rich foot cream with natural oils and minerals. For an extra boost, apply at bedtime and cover with aloe infused socks! Sassy uses: Shemen Amour Foot Peeling Cream and Mineral Foot Cream. Shemenamourusa.com, $20.00 each; Airplus Aloe Infused Spa Socks. $2.97, Walmart.

GraffitiNudes ClayBlush BrushCleanser

2) Give your makeup a once over. Pull out those drawers and boxes where you have all of your makeup stored. Look over each piece. Is it leaking? Is it crushed? Is it more than a year old? (3 months if it is mascara), Do you still wear it? Do you have doubles of things? Really think about each piece you look at. If you aren’t going to use it or if it is old, just toss it. Don’t take up the space if it isn’t needed, wanted or might not be a healthy option. Try to minimize your makeup as much as possible. And just because you threw out one thing doesn’t mean you need to replace it with two! (I know you do it…. Because I do too!) If possible, throw out multiple singe eye shadows and replace them with one new, good pallet. Try reducing your blush colors to just two—a good warm shade and a nice cool one. And don’t forget about your makeup tools. When was the last time you took care of them? Give them a good cleaning with anti-bacterial soap and let them air dry. Get in the habit of taking care of your tools by rinsing each one with a quick, daily cleaner after each use. This will not just keep the brushes in good condition longer but will keep the makeup you use with them fresher longer too! Sassy likes: Maybelline’s Nudes Eyeshadow Palette in Graffiti Nudes and Rock Nudes. Ulta, $9.99 each; Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Glisten (shimmering peachy pink) and Dazzled (shimmery soft rose), Ulta, $28.00 each; Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner. $24.00, Sephora.

WomenCardigan LongLeanTank HenleyTee Yoga

3) Analyze your closet. Now is a good time to take a look to see what you did wear and what you didn’t during the summer. If you did wear it, you are good to go. If you didn’t? Start asking yourself some questions why: Does it fit? Is it out of style? Is it out of your style? Can you integrate it into the fall/winter season? Is it worn? Was it just a bad purchase decision? Use these guides to help you decide whether you want to keep it out for next season, you will pack it away for next season when the weather gets cold, or if you need to give it away. This time of year, after my sorting has been done, I try to see if I can grab anything that might be on sale that I can wear during the fall with a sweater or jacket. Things I like to look for are things like camis, t-shirts, thin long sleeves, lightweight cardigans, maxi dresses and other clothes that can be layered. These items are perfect with a cardigan or even a hoodie. Sassy likes: Junior Drape Front Open Cardigan, $13.78; Women’s Long & Lean Tank, $2.70+; Women’s Crochet Front Henley Tee, $12.58; Junior’s Yoga Tie Waist Pant (assorted styles), $4.48. All available at some Target stores and Target.com

skinnyserum Olay burtsbees ShemenHand



4) Get ready for extra moisturizer. When the season changes, the first thing that usually notices is your skin…. so now is the time to get ready. Really think from head to toe: your hair, your face, your lips, your hands and especially your body. All of these things can be affected when the weather gets cooler and indoor heat starts kicking on once in a while at home and at work. If possible, keep the temperature in your home warm not hot, avoid cranking the heat, crack the windows for some fresh air whenever you can, and grab an extra blanket instead of turning on the furnace. Adding a few plants will keep moisture in the air which helps your skin as well. You do not have to go out and change everything you need for your skin—sometimes just adding a product once in a while can give your skin that little extra boost without spending a ton to improve its moisture retention. Sassy likes: Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny Serum at select salons; Olay Regenerist Regenerating Face Serum (Fragrance-Free), $23.99 at Walgreens; Maybelline Baby Lips Crystal Lip Balm, $4.49 and Burt’s Bees Body Lotion w/Milk & Honey, $9.99 at Walgreens; Shemen Amour Mineral Hand & Nails Cream, $18.00 at ShemenAmourUSA.com

AntibacterialSoap5) Get your body ready too. Kids are getting ready to head back to school, if they haven’t already. This means that those charming little nasty germs are going to be flying around more than ever. I remember when my kids were in elementary school, they would both bring me home a case of strep throat in less than a month after classes began. As much as you can prepare or try to prevent, it is not unusual for some of those buggers to get to you, and it isn’t hard to go from parent to patient very quickly. Even if you don’t have kids, just grabbing a shopping cart at your local supermarket can turn your hands into a germ breeding ground. If you haven’t yet this year (before it gets really busy!), get yourself to the doctor for a physical to make sure your health is good. That would be your chance to ask about any immunizations needed, vitamins, or general tests you might need. The best thing to remember is that your hands are germ breeders. Keep them clean with anti-bacterial soap and use hand sanitizer only if you can’t wash them properly. General rule?—It takes 20 seconds of washing to kill germs and bacteria. Sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” twice while washing to be effective! Sassy likes: Softsoap Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap with Moisturizers in Fresh Citrus, price varies at different retail & drug stores.

So now you have ideas that will help you transition into changes in weather and temperatures. Of course, you may run into days that will be hot like the middle of summer as well as days that are cooler than fall. Days like that may throw your usual fashion and skincare selections into a tailspin. Don’t panic. Each morning, take a look at the weather forecast and take a possible +/- 5 degree difference into consideration when making your selections for the day. With a little hunting and different options, it’s not too difficult to make this transition as “smooth” as possible!

Sunset

Define: “Steampunk”…

24 Jun

SteampunkCartoonSteampunk is…a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!” ― George Mann

From the Oxford dictionary:
steampunk
Pronunciation: /ˈstēmˌpəNGk/

1.1 A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction:
the essence of steampunk is homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist.

I don’t think without a proper dictionary definition, the steampunk style could be understood. Even with the definition? It’s hard to process. Anyone directly in the alternative world of fashion and design may get it. But many on the outside looking in may be baffled. I tend to think of it like this: take a Harry Potter style, give it a punk edge with some designer style and you are on your way to a steampunk look.

Steampunk is definitely not front and center in the glamour & fashion world. In fact, it’s a little underground which makes it that much more eclectic and romantic. It is definitely built around the individual and each look is unique. No one goes into Macy’s and asks for the steampunk section of the store. But that doesn’t mean you can get a look there either.

As my fire-spinning evolves, so does my look. I find myself looking at things that I like, with an edgy flair, and a mystical aura. Do I still love my Manolos? Hell yeah. But you might find them next to a pair of worn black suede combat boots with wired taffeta laces. What can I say? Style is about individuality. That’s why I love this industry.

So you want to look at some steampunk inspired items? I happen to like these items when I’ve got the S-punk urge:

Makeup: Because steampunk is a genre which embraces individuality, no makeup look is right or wrong. There are a few things that can give your look more of an edge than a general look.
**Dark lips are always a plus. Heavy outlined lips, true red lip colors or black matte lipsticks or glosses are a nice look.
**Stenciled designs such as gears, feathers and scrolls around the eye/temple area is cool. You can also find temporary tattoos to give you this look. Enhance them with black or metallic liner for an extra pop.
**Dark gold or copper eyeshadow is a MUST! And the more sparkle and glitter, the better. Add a touch of glittery black liner for a deep look. A touch of the shadow in the middle of your bottom lip looks awesome too.
Sassy Likes: Eye Kandy Cosmetics Eye Kandy Glitter in Taffy (Copper Penny), $7.50; Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in “Outlaw”, $20.00 – Sephora

Clothes: Take a mixture of the Victorian era romance, elements from the Industrial Revolution from the 1800’s and a hint of the post-apocalyptic era and you may have an idea of what the general steampunk look is like. The key is individualism–wear what you feel comfortable in and feel it represents the style that reflects you. Key pieces to look for are long, flowing dresses, regal jackets and bodices, ruffled and/or lacy tops, unleveled hemmed skirts and more. I advise people to look at what other steampunk lovers wear and see what jumps out at them. Remember to try before you buy. What is good for some may not be good for you. Looking at styles presently in your closet may give you an idea of what types of s’punk clothes might interest you… if any! It may not be for you, but if it is, there are lots of places to shop. Start with your local thrift and consignment shops. You’d be surprised what treasures you may find there. You can even find a base and embellish it the way you want. If you are looking for something specific, there are several online stores that offer options such as SteampunkEmporium.com, pyramidcollection.com or my favorite rebelsmarket.com
Sassy Likes: Rebel’s Market Black Corset & Buckles Halter Top, $32.40; Belladonna Corset, $44.95 – goodgoth.com

 

Accessories: Your steampunk look most likely will never be ordinary but accessories can help take it to another level. These items can fall into categories that range from head to toe. They include hats, boots, jewelry and everything in between. When it comes to jewelry, the key thing to look for is bronze. Not necessarily the metal but the color! Necklaces and bracelets with old keys, buckles and chains are a perfect add-on. Chokers made of lace, velvet or leather accented with gems, gears, keys and locks are a pretty pick as well. Boots are a popular choice for footwear. All boot heights including knee high lace up, mid-calf with buckles or low Mary Janes are always popular. When it comes to shoes, dark colors of lace, velvet or leather look fab. And those cute mini hats are always cool if you can pull them off!
Sassy Likes: Necklaces from @Fishscalecreations on Etsy; UGG “Simmens” leather boots, $169.95 – Nordstrom; Steampunk Velvet Top Hat, $19.95 -yandy.com; Black leather metal studded fingerless gloves, $22.00 – rebelsmarket.com

Row

If punk is a little extreme for you ladies but still want to stand out from the crowd, see if the individuality of the steampunk genre is your cup of tea (or poison). If you would like to know more about the why’s, who’s and what’s, check out the links below to give you more information. And as always…. keep me posted on your finds, looks, styles and so on. I’d love to see and share!!

www.steamfashion.livejournal.com: This link gives you a LOT of information. What steampunk is, your individual style, plus it’s history. A great start.

www.pennlive.com: If you want to master a steampunk look or costume, this is a great tool. I love how it talks about the recycling aspect of the look. It doesn’t have to be new, especially since the theme is Victorian based anyways.

thesteampunkempire.com: I love the fact that this is a discussion group that addresses questions you might have. The contributors are people just like you and me that need answers too!

Enjoy and be Steamsavvy, Sassinistas!!
Stopwatch Fierce

Black is the New Black….

31 May

imageI think every makeup connoisseur has SOMETHING black in their cosmetic collection. If they don’t?…. they should. Nowadays, black goes beyond just mascara. If you go down the makeup aisle at your local drugstore or venture into your Sephora mecca, the items you see will most likely have a “shade” that is a form of black. What is nice is that you don’t have to be considered goth to wear black anymore. Black is back. Plain and simple. And black glamour is awesome.

There are a few things I have in my makeup go-to bag that are black and are MUST HAVES for me no matter where I go. I may not use them every day, but I need to know they are close by…just in case!

imageL’Oreal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow in “Eternal Black”: It is hard to believe when any makeup product refers to itself as “24hrs” but this one comes really darn close. This silky shadow comes in a little pot that you apply with your finger. The key is to just dot and blend QUICK! A little goes a long way. I like this shadow as a lid color when I want a bold look or a great smoky edge when using a pop of color. The glitter content is high but because of its great binders, it doesn’t crease or fallout. Don’t worry about hot days either–it’s waterproof and sweatproof! For an extra intense look, I will apply it along my bottom lash line with a flat-top brush. It is also available in 12 other bright colors. Sexy! (Available in most major drug and retail stores, $7.99)

imageUrban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil in “Legend”: If you are like me, you love that dark, crisp black eye lined look on your lower lid. The problem? It only stays that way for a few hours. Grr. I actually found this product at Sephora when I did a search for a 24 hour pencil liner. In fact, it was the first one to pop up! I love the fact I can sharpen it myself to get a nice, crisp point on the pencil. It glides on with no tugging and yes…. it stays put all day! The black is a nice creamy, demi-matte shade that goes on easily and stays put. If you like the formula and its stay power, it comes in five other shades too! (Urban Decay, $20)

imageSenna Lash Detail Mascara: Over the years, I have tried a countless number of mascaras in different formulas and colors with all types of tubes and brushes. It is probably the one makeup item that I am the most fickle about. I really really like a few different ones I have tried, but to say I love them enough to throw out all of the others wouldn’t be possible. Not to mention, I have different mascaras for looks I want–natural, lush, evening, day, even for when I wear false eyelashes. The one thing that has been difficult for me, no matter which mascara I use, is being able to hit those teenie tiny lashes in the inner and outer corners of my eyes. The bigger brushes either can’t reach them or leave a clump of mascara or worse…a blob of black on my lid or side of my nose. When I attended The Makeup Show earlier this month, I was given a tube of Senna’s Lash Detail Mascara to try. Wow! Anyone that is very detailed about their makeup look needs this mascara, no questions asked! The “brush” is about as thin as a coffee stir straw. It gets in the corners without a problem and hits the bottom lashes from corner to outside without an issue while coating them with a “don’t move” formula. Whether you wear your own lashes with your favorite mascara or add false lashes for extra fullness & length, don’t forget the hidden lashes. Give them some love too. (Senna Cosmetics, $20)

imageDuo Brush-On Adhesive with Vitamins in Dark: Speaking of lashes, I can tell you I have been trying to master fake lashes for years. I either put them on too high, too far to the right, too far to the left, get glue everywhere but on the lid, you name it. Instead of fake lashes, I end up with a real disaster. If I do happen to get them close to normal, I always seem to have a small space between my own and the strip where you can see the skin tone of my lid, and getting a liner in between is virtually impossible. At The Makeup Show, the press was given a set of fake lashes to try. I liked the look of them in the package–soft, long, dark and full (but not too full). The lash glue was okay, but I still had issues with applying it neatly. On my next visit to my local drug store, I checked to see what other options there were in the fake lashes aisle. I saw all different kinds at all different prices with styles from natural to peacock feathers. Umm… wow. But then I saw something unique. They had this fake eyelash glue that was applied with a thin brush–similar to a thin eyeliner brush–that had an easy to apply, stay put adhesive. But what I really loved about it? It was dark…almost black! And when I put the lashes on, it looked like I had epic top liner on too! Two pluses in one product. The lashes stayed put ALL DAY with no smearing. This is JUST what I needed! (CVS, $6.49)

imageHard Candy Lip Gloss in “Black Rose”: I’m not so goth where I will wear straight-up black lip gloss or lipsticks, but I like to add a touch of midnight to a few of my favorite pencils and lip colors. Some of the products I have tried cannot be altered–just all-day black and only black. Personally, I like to wear a reds, dark wines or purples and add a thin black gloss over it for just a bit of an edge. So far, Hard Candy has been the only cosmetic company to offer that. Granted, it doesn’t have a long wear, but if you put it over a lip product with some serious stay power?… a touch up now and then it is well worth it especially since the gloss is seriously inexpensive! A great way to bring out your mysterious side with your regular colored lip products. (Walmart, $5.00)

I have talked before about how it is okay for you to embrace your inner goth even if you aren’t a teen anymore, but when it comes to black makeup items, you need something! You can be as edgy as you want with a touch of class without looking outrageous or out of place. If working with black makeup products is out of your element, take some time to practice till you are comfortable with the application and the look. You have a lot less room for error when creating a look with blacks than others so take your time and try different techniques. I don’t usually recommend this, but it might help to watch a couple of good YouTube videos for help or ideas. I can happily say that it won’t be long before this sassy redhead will be creating a YouTube channel to help you with many of the things I write about here! I am excited–I hope you will be too!
Roses

Sassy…. You’ve Been Invited To The Makeup Show!

27 Apr

MakeupShow

There have been many times that I have been invited to events that involve makeup, fashion, glamour, runways, hair, nails, you name it. I love watching, talking about what is new, what is hot, what is not, even what I would want for myself. This weekend, however, I was invited to attend one of THE hottest makeup events in the United States: The Makeup Show in NYC. It features some of the best names in the business, showing what they have, what they have new, displays, demonstrations and endless samples. It takes up two floors of one of the NYC convention centers and every inch is used! In addition, there are several seminars, hands-on workshops, and endless networking. You cannot attend unless you are in the industry. You must show proof and credentials to your association with the makeup industry.

So how did a simple, redheaded writer get invited to this event you wonder? I was wondering that myself till I got a phone call about a month ago: I was being offered a press to attend anything I wanted to. Full pass! (Insert the jump for joy and mini scream here.) It’s one thing to go to the mall and look for the products by the companies you really like. It’s another to be asked to go to see what is new, what is different, various ways to utilize products, and also see companies that are not in my area. When I received the phone call, the sweet Makeup Show representative informed me when I inquired about the event, my credentials were investigated through companies I work with as well as my blog, and I was chosen to attend with the press. Wow. Just wow.

In addition to attending The Makeup Show, I was also given a pass to be a guest at the press preview the day before. At that time, I will be informed of the various seminars and teachings as well as given a “goodie bag” of new items that select companies would like to distribute to writers before they hit the market. Bingo!… my kind of thing. I always love to get the jump on what will be hot before the fire is even lit. In addition, we will be given selling points about each new item and what market it will be best to cater to. Perfect!

MickRock

Now, if YOU are a makeup/hair/glamour/nails/etc. industry professional, you should SERIOUSLY consider heading to the city for one day, two days or both and learn things that can benefit you as well as your business. What was an added bonus was hearing that they will be having a special guest at the event at well. Mick Rock, a well-known British photographer, will be speaking to a select few on Sunday to talk about his career with well-known artists such as David Bowie, Blondie, Queen, Lady Gaga and more. He will talk about how his career has made an impact in not just the world of music and photography but also fashion and makeup. He is known for creating unforgettable images of these icons and more, which are featured in galleries all over the world. At The Makeup Show NYC, he will share his story, show the attendees his personal favorite pieces of work, and offer advice to makeup professionals looking to find their own style and niche in the industry. This is sure to bring some additional excitement and enthusiasm to those who will be attending. I know this will be so fascinating and inspiring to myself as a writer to hear the stories from the source themselves! (For more information, go to The Makeup Show NYC webpage and click on “Education”)

The Makeup Show NYC will feature over 75 beauty brands including sponsor brands Make Up For Ever, NARS, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Smashbox, Pinnacle Cosmetics and more. The show will be help Sunday, May 1, 2016 from 9am to 6pm and on Monday May 2, 2016 from 9am to 5pm at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street in NYC. A complete list of participating brands, speakers, events and prices can be found at http://www.themakeupshow.com. This will be the only east coast stop on the seven-city tour so if you are interested… I seriously suggest you make it happen and get there!

I couldn’t be more excited to be invited as a press representative to this event, so keep an eye out for pictures, information, new items, trends, and maybe even a giveaway afterwards here on my blog. I am sure I will come back with a ton of things to share! And if you are in the industry.. try to be there. It will be unforgettable!!

LipstickAnimated

I Spy, With My Little Eye, From The Loft….

11 Nov

RainyFallI’m sitting here at The Loft staring out the beautiful picture window, filled with grey fall clouds above and red brick on the building next door, darkened by the passed rain. As dreary as some might think it is, to me it’s beautiful. The colors blend beautifully with a darkened hue of autumn’s best. Even though I appreciate the vibrancy of it all, the fact still remains that I will be wearing the usual black and white fall-back colors to the tattoo shop for the day. My closet is filled with shades of the season and I’ll still dress like a newspaper. I’m so ashamed.

As I look at all of the colors outside on this cloudy, dismal day, I can’t help but think of some great quotes as well as some fabulous song lyrics that fit the view that I see. Songs and poems come to mind that flow beautifully even with the overcast sky above. It also reminds me that the sights and colors that may seem bleak to many are actually vibrant and bright in my glamour collection. This goes far beyond the colors in my 64 pack of Crayola crayons as well. There are hues that only Mother Nature can create. Nature’s beauty seriously takes my breath away.

With the ever-changing weather in my neck of the woods, let me give you a little insight into what I’m seeing outside my window today, and how it relates to the products that I am partial to when I see them. I’ll even throw in a nice quote or song lyric to make it a bit more fun:

WetRedLipstick* Wet Brick* – “The rain stains the brick a darker red” gives you a great visual. It is a line from a song by singer/song writer Ani DiFranco. It’s definitely not the most uplifting song, but it gives you images you can’t erase. Looking across the lot from my window shows me that color in all its glory. A dark, rich, warm red with almost a charcoal undertone with a feeling of gloom. That’s the color. Is it easy to find? Absolutely not. But is it beautiful to wear if you find it? Hell yeah. Especially in a lip color for the cooler seasons. Sassy’s find: Sephora’s Rouge Cream Lipstick in “Deep Brick Red”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

YellowNails*Yellow Maple Leaves *“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” ~ Pablo Picasso. Wow, that makes you think, doesn’t it? The lemon-painted growth has left its home on the tree and fallen to a beautiful death to cover the ground in magnificent colors. The blanket of yellow leaves on the grass outside of The Loft covers the greens of the grass with a vibrant shade of yellow. Although the day is dreary, the color of the leaves warms the land with its intensity. No matter what the sky is doing, you can’t help but smile. Sassy’s find: Formula X Liquid Crystals Nail Polish in “Highlighter”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

GreenShadow*Green Pine Trees*“…your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen.” That is from another great song, this one by Ed Sheeran. What a fabulous way to describe something that stays strong with time, never changing over the years. The intense, bold greens that give an earthly background to the other colors of the season create the perfect canvas to the bright shades pictured on it. This green is perfect for a smoky look with some color. Add a touch of glitter for a bit of pop. Sassy likes: Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in “Iggy”, $21.00. Sephora stores & Sephora.com

CloudShadow*Grey Fluffy Clouds*“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think this quote applies to so many things in life. Just when you think everything is going the same, it changes. Don’t get too comfortable on your path—you’ll see a detour soon enough. The same goes for fashion and for glamour. In fact, we have an entire WEEK—twice a year!—that tells us what changes are happening to the norm in this industry. And like the clouds that are outside my window right now, I’d be willing to bet they will change their shape, their color, their type, their size before I look outside at them again. A brilliant performance by a simple mass of condensed water, in colors from white to gray to black. Amazing! Sassy likes: Rimmel London’s Glam Eye Shadow Quad in “Smokey Noir”, $2.99. Ulta stores or Ulta.com

NYXGlitter*Shiny, Wet Pavement*“The road that leads to nowhere for others might just be the road that leads to somewhere for you!” ~ ildan. Wow, I can seriously relate to that one! Most people cringe when they realize they need to drive at night during a rainstorm. You can’t see the lines on the road, the pavement is blacker than black. This morning, the road outside the loft was still wet from the rain last night, but it had a slight shine and glimmer to it. A gothic gloom with a hint of glitz. Yeah, that works. It was definitely dark, even during the day. It was the kind of look I love in a good eyeliner. Especially one that can withstand water and rain–which is what I will be facing today. Sassy likes: NYX Slim Sparkle Eye Pencil in “Black Sparkle”, $3.49. Ulta stores and Ulta.com

This is a just a little taste of what life looked like outside of the window of The Loft this morning. It may not have been the brightest, most sunny of days but it still conveyed a mood, a feeling with its colors and contents. It is nice to look into my glamour drawer and see items that remind me of the beautiful things that can surround me every day or at any given time, no matter what the season. I encourage my readers to step outside of their box once in a while and look at products in shades that they may not normally wear but still look amazing. Just look around–if nature can capture the beauty of these colors and hues, why can’t you?

“Letters From The Loft” (?) ……

5 Nov

Im-SorryI feel bad. I really do. I have completely ventured off course in regards to my list of the “30 Days of Beauty”. I don’t even think I got through a third of it. That’s sad. My dilemma now is this: do I finish the list, taking however long it will take me, or do I just write a blurb here and there while mainly focusing on the things that are awesome and hot right now in the industry. Rather than miss an opportunity to show my readers and fans the things that are new, hot, steals or seasonal stuff, I think I will keep my Sassinistas in the loop and just drop a “30 Days” article in once in a while.

WriterNow, let’s talk about my writing for a second. The fact is, I haven’t done much of it lately. And my passion for sharing my love of this industry has been very minimal over the past year. I really don’t know why either. I love to write. I love to try new products and share my experiences with my readers. I love to teach. I love to find great sales and steals and share with all. I love to design and create new looks based on what is new, what is hot, as well as integrate existing fashions into today’s trends. So why haven’t I done just that? Have I been too busy with life? Has my other J.O.B. consumed my every waking second? Have I fallen out of love with fashion and glamour? OH HELL NO!! In fact, I’m seeing it through a different perspective lately. I just haven’t had the time, energy or ambition to… for lack of a better term… focus. And that’s not good. Not good at all. Oh what is a Sassy red head to do?

After a long thought process, I have decided to make a big move in regards to my writing career—I have decided to look into renting some space where I can go, by myself, to focus on my blog and my desire to be BIG in this industry. Carrie Bradshaw had her Manhattan “Loft” in Sex and the City, and it worked for her. Why couldn’t it work for me? I could use that time to either research, test, write or brainstorm about what I want to share with my fans and readers in regards to items that I have discovered or fell in love with. I would need a space where I can spread out endless magazines and circle pages with a big marker of what I think is awesome. I could find things that are fitting for the season, things I discovered, items I have tried and loved, creations or concoctions I have made for my skin, and of course, research things that may or may not–in my opinion–live up to the hype. The time to go and write would be my own. The space would be free from distraction. I would be able to put myself and my writing first without interruption. It would be exactly what I need to refocus on my passion.

LoftA friend of mine recently rented a small apartment in a very historical part of a town not too far from where I live. He asked me if I could watch his place one day while some electrical work was being done by his landlord. He had to be at work and couldn’t take time off to be there so I said yes. To kill time, I decided to fire up my pathetically dusty laptop and try to write. BOY DID I! I began this article and started my next one, more than I have done in months. Even with the maintenance men there, I was able to get stuff edited and photos downloaded. I had a beautiful view out of the old, classic framed windows to inspire me. It overlooks cobblestone streets, gorgeous foliage, with only sounds coming from the bells of the old churches and the occasional car driving by. When I first saw it, all I could think of was Carrie’s apartment. It was almost exactly the same, except for the fact there are no designer shoe stores nearby. C’est la vie. But there is everything else—-which is exactly what my career needs. My friend is only there a few hours a night, and I would only need it a few hours each day. Professionally AND practically, it’s perfect! And for less than the cost of a bottle of Xanax, a daily cappuccino (or three) and a portion of my sanity, I could pay a small amount towards expenses such as electricity, tea and toilet paper and write without bother. All I would need to buy is a desk, a chair and a surge protector. I mentioned it to him and he thinks it’s a great idea. I’m already considering adding a new section to my blog called “Letters from the Loft” where any topic is free reign.
I. Freaking. Love. It.!!

So, without bogging you down with details of obvious necessities that this fashion writer needs for her future work area, I’m going to address things that ANY working woman might find they need in their “space” at work. Of course, these might be a little more glamour oriented, but that’s perfectly okay. It is TOTALLY fine to be a high-profiled woman who has the things she needs to ROCK her job and her look…and that includes me! Here are a few things that I would make sure sit by me at my desk in “The Loft”:

GoopBurtsBeesAlmondHand Cream: Interior environments for us women can be detrimental to our hands. Between shaking them, typing with them, writing with them, washing them, not to mention dry-as-hell interior heating sources, our hands can get parched as a pile of fall leaves. The texture and appearance of a woman’s hands can give her age away faster than any driver’s license can. That’s a true fact. It is especially important to keep them hydrated with a fast-absorbing cream during the day so you don’t leave your work area a greasy mess and an extra emollient cream at night to lock in moisture while you sleep. If at all possible, use a good hand cream with SPF to protect them from sun damage that can come in through work windows, cars, sunroofs as well as sun/wind/snow glare. If you find a hand cream you like that doesn’t have an SPF in it? Just transfer the hand cream to a small jar and add a good, gentle SPF to it. Sassy likes: For day…Supergoop! Handcream at Sephora (A Best of Beauty by Allure award winner). Sephora, $12/1 oz., $34/10 oz. For night…Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream  (2013 Natural Health Beauty Award Winner). Drug stores, $9.00

eosBlackberryFGGKateLip Balm: I never hide the fact that I have a serious weak spot for ALL lip products. Sometimes when I am not going out in public, I just want a good balm that will moisturize without question. If I think I am going to have to interact with anyone, I prefer something slightly jazzy with a bit of sparkle or a hint of color. It is kind of a pain to keep two things with me, but I’ve carried much heavier things in my purse. Plus, at The Loft, I can leave two without causing clutter. Remember to look for a lip balm/tint that focuses primarily on the condition of your lips and less on the scent or flavor. Sassy likes: For just moisture… eos Visibly Soft Lip Balm Sphere Blackberry Nectar. Drug & retail stores, $3.29; For moisture plus a tint… For Goodness Grape Lip Tint in “Kate”, a natural peachy pink shade loaded with oils and butters to keep your lips pretty and smooth. Forgoodnessgrape.com, $9

SallyHansenTripleRevlonEmeryStrong Nail Necessities: Oh you KNOW this has happened to you! You sliced or chipped a nail while doing something at your job and that one nail file you keep in your drawer is now being used by Tom in accounting to try and fix his picture frame. *shakes head*. I don’t recommend keeping anything spectacular or expensive to mend a nail at work, but you need to carry something. ALWAYS carry something! Get an inexpensive package of nail files and put one in your purse, one in your pen holder, one in your desk, one in a file marked “Hit List”, whatever you need to do. With using scissors, typing, picking off tape, or bumping them into desks, you can be sure your nails will take a beating. Keep them strong with a good protector or top coat and a go-anywhere file in your work space just in case. Sassy likes: Sally Hansen Triple Strong Advanced Gel Nail Fortifier. Walmart, $8.19; Revlon Compact Emery Boards (pack of 24). Walmart, $2.00.

Paul_Mitchell_Freeze_and_Shine_Super_Spray_500ml_16.9oz__87755.1345152407.328.245

paul_mitchell_express_dry_stay_strongHair Hold: Even if you don’t move all day, your hair will. I am not quite sure how that happens, but it does. Sometime during the course of my day I will grab a quick peek in the mirror. I check to make sure my eye makeup isn’t running down my face, my lips are soft and tinted, my skin isn’t shiny or splotchy, and my hair doesn’t look like frazzled. If I have used the right makeup, I can be pretty sure the first three are fine. But the hair always seems to have a mind of its own. Of course, there are a lot of products that can literally glue my hair into a Barbie & Ken plastic look, but that’s so not me. I am not a big fan of the helmet head look. I’ve tried many products to keep a look without feeling crispy and without falling flat due to weather. There are only a few on my bathroom counter that gives me the hold without feeling sticky. And that’s definitely a good thing. Sassy likes: Paul Mitchell’s Express Dry Stay Strong Hair Spray, $18.99 & Paul Mitchell’s Freeze and Shine Spray, $26.68. Available at select salons through paulmitchell.com

LiveColorfullysephora_atomizerA Touch of Scent: I don’t like to wear a lot of perfume if I am going to be around a lot of people I don’t know. I wish some people would follow the rule that just because YOU can’t smell yourself doesn’t mean others can’t. Sample spritzers of perfume that come free with purchase or a try-size at a place like Sephora can be a life saver if you want a touch of scent to make yourself smile or to add to a application from earlier in the day. I am a BIG BIG BIG fan of the perfume rollerballs. I can carry them with me when I’m out and about as well as have a scent I like without investing a ton of money with the chance I’ll get sick of it or worse, have it “spoil” from age or elements. If you have found a scent you like, I suggest getting a couple of sample sprays from a place like eBay to keep at your desk or in your work. You can also get yourself a small refillable atomizer to carry with you with your favorite scent or maybe get some empty rollers to carry a few. You can change it up depending on your mood or season. Either way, it helps you feel refreshed to add a light burst of your favorite scent when you need a mood or motivation boost! Sassy likes: “Live Colorfully” Rollerball by Kate Spade, $25; Sephora Collection Color Universal Atomizers, $16.00. Both available at Sephora.com

celestial-seasonings-1024x682Good Teas: Not everyone is a coffee person. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but on days I need to stay relaxed, keep my head, focus, and maybe warm up a bit, I am a big fan of different flavor teas. I like loose teas when I have the time and where with all to make them and enjoy them, but that isn’t always possible. If I am in writing mode, I prefer to grab one all ready to go. I had won a contest with Celestial Seasonings a few years back which got me hooked on many of their flavors. It’s still my go-to tea when I need a warm “ahhh” moment from a beverage that is just good for me, inside and out! Sassy likes: Celestial Seasonings “Sugar Plum Spice” — a flavor that is just like the name; “Tension Tamer” that is a combination of peppermint, ginger & lemongrass; and “Honey Vanilla Chamomile” that is sweet and relaxing. The Sleepytime teas are a great relaxer as well, in great flavors like “Decaf Lemon Jasmine” which also helps with a cold at night and “Sleepytime Peach” with its calming, gentle peach flavor. Oh, and don’t forget an awesome mug. It’s a must! Sassy likes: Celestial Seasonings various teas available at select markets and online at celestialseasonings.com, prices vary.

As I think about my work space in the tattoo shop, I can say that many of the items I keep there are pretty much a necessity for my daily existence to maintain the look and feel I want throughout the day. Of course, there might be some of you who need extras and some who might need less. But for me? These items are kind of a “go to” list for when I just want to try and get through the day looking my best. So tell me… did I miss anything? Do you have a must-have item that is with you in your purse or at your desk every day? Let me know what it is! I’d love to see what necessities are must haves for you! Maybe they will even become a must-have for me too!

…and in the meantime? I will keep you posted on my status with the Loft. New endeavors have to begin somewhere. Personally? I think my writing career may have turned over a new leaf right here!
LetterBook

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 6

7 Jul

BrushesYup. *sigh* I’m still a day behind. There’s nothing worse than feeling like a dog chasing its own tail. I will find a way to get back on track. It might require me to lock myself in my shed for two days, but if I have to I will. It won’t help with the laundry I’m behind doing but my writing will be up to date.

30DaysToday is a good day on the list: Brushes. It is kind of an easy one to tackle for me, but I will do a little thought processing while I share. Most of you know that I spend my days helping out my guys at their tattoo shop. They are artists. FABULOUS artists. One is amazing at photo realism. Another is great with American Traditional. I have a girl who does great stippling work. And my owner loves Japanese and does beautiful script work. There is something for everyone. Even though they all have a different style, they are all particular about one thing: their equipment. You could pick out the most beautiful pink ink to tattoo a rose with, but if your artist uses a crappy, old, bent tattoo needle and uses a worn out machine to draw it on with, my guess is your rose isn’t going to be very pretty. In fact, it might not even look like a rose. It could be blurry, uneven, messy or even blotchy. Not cool. All because you picked an artist with the wrong tools.

The same goes for a great makeup look. You need the right tools.

I’d be willing to guess the makeup that the models are wearing at the Christian Dior fashion show was not applied with cotton balls and Q-tips. Those models have a fab makeup look not just because someone used good makeup but because the artists used the right tools. Tools they selected based on how they create their looks, brushes and tools they are comfortable using, and brushes that are dependable–solid. No matter what the price, it is what you are going to want in this industry.

When I first started dabbling in the skin care and makeup industry, the first thing I wanted was a high-end set of quality makeup brushes. I picked up one here and there till I had an amazing set. I will admit—I spent a lot of money on them. But I had it to spend and wanted a set that was good and would last. I got just that! Now, that set is almost 10 years old and are still in great shape. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But since then, I have found a few other brushes that were much less expensive and still had the qualities I liked. They are made of good, solid materials; they don’t shed; and they clean easily. Am I upset that I could have spent less on my full set? No. I got brushes in sizes that no other line carried except the higher-end brand. But it’s nice to know that there are good quality, less expensive makeup brushes for the beginner glamourista!

Here are my two go-to brush lines that you will find in my makeup case. In fact, they are the ONLY brands you will find. I love the way they apply makeup, giving me a look I like while doing what they are supposed to without leaving bristle pieces everywhere. Two good, solid brands of brushes depending on the kinds you want and the price you want to spend. Day 6 of my 30 Days of Beauty brings my selections for brushes:

Sephora BrushesSephora Collection # Brushes — Sephora’s synthetic brushes are professional and tough as nails. I never have had any fall out with the bristles. The long handles make it easy to manipulate to get the look I want. And they wash easy with mild antibacterial soap. The price is high for many of the sizes, but their line has many shapes & designs for the look you want. From brows to lips and everything in between, these brushes do not fall short. At all! Available only at Sephora Brush Sets.

Elf Brushese.l.f. (EyesLipsFace) Brushes — Surprised? It’s okay, I was too. I was desperate for a lip brush one day and stumbled across their brushes at a Target. They had an EXTREMELY inexpensive lip brush which worked great! Since I wear several shades of eyeshadow each day, I thought it would be good to have a few extra inexpensive brushes so I wouldn’t mix colors and get a look I wasn’t aiming for. I wasn’t just pleased with the “higher end” e.l.f. brushes, but also liked the $1 brushes as well! Go figure! I will say, stores like Target don’t carry every style of brush they make, but they have quite a few. For a bigger selection, check out their website and see what they have there. Also, sign up for their emails. They often will have one-day sales and the discounts are phenomenal!!
Check the e.l.f. website for brushes for a store near you or purchase what you want from there.

Don’t chance a beautiful makeup look with items that don’t have what it takes. Do some research and find what is important to you in your brushes. Create your piece of art with the tools that you like, and will make you feel and look fabulous!!

30 Days Of Beauty… Day 2

3 Jul

FluffBenter late than never, I say. Actually, I say it too much. Sometimes things get busy and I put things off. Other times, I just say “I’ll do it later.” That’s what I did today with this post. The problem was I took a nap when I got home earlier and woke up just in time to go to bed. *sigh*. Oh well, I’m (trying to) get Day 2 done before the clock strikes midnight. And that’s what counts. Right?

30DaysThis puts us at Day 2 which is “Daily Make Up Product”. This is tricky. I will have a product of one brand that I wear almost daily, but I have it in different colors, so in my opinion that really doesn’t count. I had to really look at stuff that is a daily use product, no matter what look I am wearing, what the temperature is, or what my skin feels like. A product that looks good and works well no matter what the conditions are. And yes… I have one.

Way back when, I fell in love with a big brand name micro powder that was the perfect setting powder I had ever used. It was luminous, colorless, evened out my look, and gave me a nice smooth finish to my face. I got a sample from Sephora and I fell in love. The only problem I had with it was it came from this high-end beauty store and was steep in price. Then, one of my absolute favorite “indie” makeup beauties told me she had a powder that was almost the same if not better. She sent me a full sized product to try just for an honest review on hers and other websites. It looked like the expensive stuff but with a touch of healthy shimmer (NOT glitter,–more like a light, sparkling glow). I got way more in this jar than I did with the other brand. And I used much less than the expensive stuff. What was even better? I was supporting an independent makeup “retailer” who takes pride in her products, containing natural ingredients while saving a good amount of money. Even though that jar of the “big brand” powder is still good and in my drawer?… I’ll still grab my new setting powder before any others. And I don’t think I’d ever change now!

So that brings us to my product choice for today. A High Definition Diamond Veil that softens the look of fine lines, reduces the appearance of pores, improves and evens out skin tone, smooths and mattifies your makeup look. I personally like the fact that it “seals” in my look, holding it strong all day. I don’t need touch ups, and if my day runs into overtime, a quick dusting will make it fresh again. It’s even easy to apply using a fluffy powder brush, with just a light layer dusted all over your finished makeup look. Then, you’re done–pretty powder perfect!

So, what’s this savior that is my must have? Easy…

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Day 2: Daily Make Up Product
L.A. Minerals’ High Definition Diamond Powder. Found only at http://www.LAMinerals.com , $19.99

When One Isn’t Enough…

13 Jun

imageI am guessing that if you ask any true fashion- or glamourista how many pairs of black shoes they own, the response of “just one” would be slim to none. There are times we need several STYLES of something in the same color, but only a few of us can actually say we have MANY colors/sizes of the same item or brand. As I put on my eyeshadow this morning, I am one of those select few. Certain makeup items will jazz me so that I will actually go to the store to get more of the one that I bought to try. Although it is not as frequent, I will also find an an article of clothing that I like so much that I will get it in every style and color. I guess, as a fashion follower, this is every brand’s dream. Get the buyer hooked. No matter what the competition offers, they know they have you as a loyal customer to at least one thing.

So, I guess you’re asking yourself, “What item does Sassy have an abundance of colors of in her makeup drawer or closet?” Let me answer that for you:

imageLancôme Eye Shadow – Once upon a time, I was a winner of a huge bag of goodies from Glamour Magazine. Holy bonanza, the stuff I got was insane. Makeup from high end designers, a flat iron, perfumes, brushes, bags… it was crazy. One thing I got was a Lancôme eyeshadow in “blue”. I thought I might never use it because I never wear blue on my eyes. In fact, other than jeans, I don’t wear blue anything. But this color actually coordinated perfectly with denim and I began using it as contour color often. The formula was soft, easy to apply (wet or dry) and had an all-day wear without fading or falling out. I was so happy with it that I picked up a few other shades. Then a few more. And a few more. I probably have over 20 single Lancôme shadows in my collection now and I always have a combination to compliment my look of the day. Do I need more? Probably not. Will I GET more? Most likely. Macy’s, $20.00

imageBuxom Full-On Lip Polish – Again, let’s talk about the “gift with purchase” program shall we? Way back when, I got my birthday mini gift from Sephora. It was a nice mini lip pencil and a small tube of a Buxom lip color in a very neutral shade (no longer available). I used it often. I loved the thick consistency and that little bit of tingle that made my lips fresh and plump. Although the gloss gave my lips a natural look and kept them moisturized, it didn’t have an “all day” wear. Didn’t matter to me though. In almost 100 different shades, there is a color for anything, anytime, anywhere. A touch up now and then doesn’t bother me at all. It must not–I own over 20 and am still adding! Sephora, $19.00

imageRimmel London ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner – A while back, I took it upon myself to test drug store pencil liners against high-end department and speciality store brands. I did my research and tried three popular brands of each. With a high recommendation, one of the drug store brands I tried was ScandalEyes. I will be honest…I was hesitant to put a lot of stock into into its reviews. Most Rimmel eye products I had tried in the past was a serious fail for me. Smudging, running, flaking. Not good. But it got rave reviews from many consumer and reader’s choice awards so I put it in. My first thought?…GREAT color selection! Even though I’m usually a strictly black waterline girl, I loved the fact they also had a Sparkling Black with a hint of shimmer, a cool turquoise for a layering look with pop, and an epic silver to layer with other colors for a dramatic look. These colors, no lie, held their own all day without fail. Not a bit of smudging, no running, stay put color, a wide variety of shades. I like that they can be sharpened. I like this because I can get two of each pencil–one that I can give a crisp, sharp tip to for fine lining, and the other can be more blendable for a bit of smudging. Do I need two pencils for lining? Hell no, I could just use one. But at this great price? Why not! Last count, I think I had eight of these liners–two in each black and one each in four other shades. If they came out with others? I’d definitely be quick to pick one (or more) up! Ulta, $4.49

imagePINK by Victoria’s Secret Athletic Hoodies/Tops – Trust me when I say I am not a name shopper. I know good brands and what would be considered a good deal on some names or designers. But do I fill my closet on just high-end fashions? Oh HELL NO! I am all about style, fit, and what I like. That simple. But when a name or brand has something I like, that fits good, and is stylish? I’ll set aside some dough-rae-mee to get what I like. If I can land a sale or deal? Even better. And that’s what happened when I found this line by PINK at VS. It started with a limited edition melon-colored athletic hoodie that I fell in love with at a retail store. I got a coupon and immediately ordered another color (flecked grey) after the first wear. When the line was discontinued, I moved from a full zip to a curved-hem half zip in Minty Fresh. Am I done? Probably not yet. I got one more coupon in the mail and will probably get another curved half-zip before the month is out. They are easy to wash, comfortable to wear, stylish and eye catching. My kind of fashion!
PINK, $45.95

imageGuess? Jeans – Here is another case where the name doesn’t sell the product…the look and fit does. We all know Guess? jeans have been around since 1981, making them one of THE most popular brands of denim for both men and women. Since then, Guess has introduced many other fashions and accessories. Ranging from t-shirts and coats to jewelry, fragrances, purses and more, Guess continues to be a big name in the fashion industry. The Guess brand in Sassy’s house is HUGE! I have several pieces of stylish jewelry, gorgeous handbags, shoes, coats, t-shirts and more. But what I have the most of and continue to add to often is my collection of jeans. I remember purchasing my first pair of Guess jeans after a mini windfall over 8 years ago. Fact: I still have those jeans. They have never faded, lost their shape, shrunk, ripped, nothing! That’s a good product if you ask me. Another reason I love my Guess jeans? I take the same size every time. I don’t have to worry about a different fit or style. The size I order in skinny jeans is the size I order in straight cut and that’s the same size I order in boot cut. No “guessing”, not wondering. I love that. Plus it makes it easier to keep an eye out for sales too. Right now? I’d be willing to bet I have over ten pairs of Guess jeans in all different styles and colors. And I’d also be willing to bet they will ALWAYS be a fashionable choice. Guess or Guess Factory, prices vary.

imagee.l.f. Makeup Brushes – Any artist will tell you that the painting is only as good as the materials you used to create it. I honestly have to say that you if you bought a high end foundation, blush, eye shadow, powder, lipstick, etc. then applied them with a cotton ball and a few Q-tips, my guess is that you wouldn’t achieve that epic look you just saw in Glamour magazine. There is no doubt that there are probably more makeup brushes that do different things than you could count. Are all necessary for a very nice, professional glamour look? If you are a makeup artist working Fashion Week in NYC, then yes. But for home? No. Hell no! No more than a few are necessary for an above-average, put together do-it-yourself look. A long time ago when I decided to work with makeup, my first glamour priority was to get myself some professional brushes. I spent a lot. Probably more than I should have. Do I like them? I love them! They are about eight years old now, haven’t shed, wash easy, kept their shape, and only a little wear & tear on the wooden handles. But, I have to ask myself: were all these brushes worth what I spent? Probably not,…but they are cool! Recently, my daughter bought an e.l.f. Concealer Brush to help her with her mineral coverup. She loved the brush so much, she went out and got three others. They were soft, non-shedding, good handle length, easy to clean. So now I was intrigued. Were brushes priced from $1+ comparable to ones I had paid up to $40 for? I guess it depends on what you want to do with them, the types you want, and the look you want. But looking back, I think many of the e.l.f. brushes would have been just fine for a beginners collection to use various types of makeup with professional results. My favorites? e.l.f. Studio Blush Brush, $3; Defining Eye Brush, $1; Studio Angled Eyeliner Brush, $3; Small Stipple Brush, $3; Lip Defining Brush, $3. I probably use one of these brushes each day, find them an asset to my makeup look as well as my wallet, and give my already large professional brush collection a great boost! Walmart, $1 and up

So, you have my specific list of frequent items you’ll find in my glamour routine, all in various shades, shapes and styles. I’m sure there are others, but these are necessary for my own edge and panache to create a look I am happy with. They can have subtle differences, but these precious few that I turn to almost daily gives me that extra hint of jazz and confidence in my step. How about you? Have a go-to line or brand that you would own everything of if you had the chance? Feel free to confess to Sassy… tell me you secret glamour addiction. I promise I won’t tell!
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Don’t Take Away My….

11 Sep

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Recently, I wrote about how you can get a great, long lasting stunning look with just one stop to the drug store. At one time this was not easy, but with the development of better formula cosmetics, skin care and hair products, it is absolutely possible to get a great look without hitting a high end store and maxing out a credit card. Beauty can now be achieved on less than a paycheck. If you do it right, you could do it on a big trip to a bottle redemption center. Takes time & practice, but it can be done.

I do have to say, though, that even with the great products that are available on a drug/department store retail level, there are a few things that I just CAN’T live without. I admit, the majority of my ultimate faves are slightly higher end products, but not all of them. And this isn’t just for makeup and skin care either. I have a few fashion items that would make me cry if they disappeared from my closet. The fact is, no matter what the cost or where it came from, there are some things that I would throw a major hissy over if someone took them from me. They are all part of my glamour holy grail list.

So what do I love and can’t live without? Read on:

imageBenefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara – I have more damn tubes of mascara in my house RIGHT NOW than most people use in a lifetime. I test them, I review them, I am given them as samples, and sometimes curiosity of a new product just comes over me. They’re Real! came into my possession thanks to a sample from Sephora. I was a little hesitant since the “brush” applicator was very stiff, comb-like, and not fluffy like I had been used to using. It was the brush that actually sold me on this mascara! It lengthens, gently thickens, separates each lash, and although it isn’t waterproof it is “water resistant” and it seriously doesn’t move all day. No clumping, no flaking, no smudging. I was definitely sold after one use and no matter what other mascaras I’m testing or trying, I need Benefit’s They’re Real! in my drawer. I’d be lost without it.

imageLancôme Artliner Precision Point EyeLiner – I’ve always been intimidated by liquid liner. I don’t know what I do wrong, but my eyes never come out like the picture. But liquid liner is the classic example of “practice makes perfect.” And of all the liquid liners out there, Artliner Precision Point EyeLiner makes practicing easy. The foam-tip “brush” doesn’t clog up or run out before you finish your line. You want to be able to get an even color swipe without having it fade in the middle of the application. Not to mention, it comes in other popular colors so you can get a nice bold look with colors that pop. I also like the fact that you have about five seconds to smudge or touch it up before it dries and doesn’t move…. all day. Yeah, it’s a bit steep in price but a tube lasts a long, long time and saves money if you realize you don’t have to redo it 2-3 times!

imageBuxom® Full-On™ Lip Polish – Yup, I’m a lipgloss whore. I have more tubes of glitter goop than some people have shoes. Hmmm, bad reference. But I’m a sucker for trying new stuff, so if it has a good catch, decent advertising and jazzy packaging…I’m sold. But there is one lipgloss I only have three shades of and I would be lost without them. Why is this lipgloss such a staple in my collection? Well, once again we go back to the “samples sell” philosophy. I got a mini tube in the neutral color “Sugar” (a pinkish truffle). But I also have a wine/violet shade called “Gabby” that goes with anything and a bright strawberry pink called “Kanani”. The gloss is rich, thick but not sticky, and leaves your lips tingly for a pinch of plump. The colors are bold and there are many to choose from. Again, the glosses are more $$$ than an average gloss, but they do last because you need to reapply them less often and the color stays strong. I recently got a gift card so I think I will invest in a few Fall colors to keep my lips smooth with seasonal colors!

imageRoberto Cavalli Black T-Shirt – Okay, sit down because this is an epic story: One day last year, I went into my favorite “second hand” store, Plato’s Closet. While flipping through the tees, looking at the labels (because a designer item that sneaks in unnoticed is an epic find!), I see the name Roberto Cavalli on this black, logo tee with sheer zebra stripes on the back. My hands began to shake as I picked it up and saw the genuine logo medallion hanging from tag. Thanks to my years of watching Sex And The City, I knew immediately who and what I had found. I had stumbled upon a hidden treasure! I looked around, thinking this might be some kind of trick and Heidi Klum was going to pop out of a dressing room like I was in a Pranked skit or something. No one approached me, so I clinched the tee (which was my size!) like it was the last bottle of water after the Apocalypse and tried to act cool. I didn’t even look at the price tag because in my mind I knew approximately what it would have retailed for and I had to have found a deal. Holy smokes, did I. The cost on the Plato’s Closet price tag?…$6. I began to sweat as I walked towards the register, pretending I knew nothing about my find. As soon as it was rang up, paid for, and handed to me, I almost jumped the cashier. “Do you know what up this IS ?” She looked at me like I was on dope. I grabbed it out of the bag. “This is a Roberto Cavalli…ORIGINAL!” Still, a stone look on her face. No clue. Ugh…kids. Oh well!–too bad, so sad! Your loss, my gain! My days of ole watching Carrie Bradshaw and eating Hagen Daas out of the carton with a spoon on my couch had paid off. After extensive research, I discovered that the shirt I found was approximately four years old, and discontinued the same season it was released. The price new? About $350. I paid $6. Moral of the story? Watch your fashion shows, read your glamour mags and surf the net for the latest glamour news. It just may pay off. No one I see in my travels around where I live “gets it” when I wear my shirt, but I do! Oh I certainly do.

imageRampage Enamel Studded Satchel – Right up there with lip glosses, my number of black handbags is probably preposterous to the average American female. I have black purses in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of features, accents and hardware. Some have locks, some have rhinestones, some have feathers. Some are worn out, some are stained, some are basic, some are designer. All kinds for all reasons and seasons. But this specific bag is unusual. It was on clearance at tjmaxx.com and I actually stumbled upon it while looking for something else. I had just recently started helping out at the tattoo shop, and I thought an edgy, studded, rocker looking handbag with a lot of space for new items that I needed to carry with me (datebook, two cell phones, business cards, etc.) would be good. Honestly, when the purse arrived, I seriously thought about returning it. It was bigger than most of my bags, it had handles shorter than I was used to, and it didn’t have a lot of organizational features. But it was cool, the inside was hot pink which looked fab with the black exterior, and it definitely had a rocker vibe. So I loaded it up and gave it a try. I ended up carrying it for over two weeks which is long for me. What I’ve noticed, however, is that even when I do swap out handbags, I only carry them for a short while then come back to this one. I have a connection with this purse. We are compatible. It’s comfortable to me. I love that. Although it has been discontinued, it’s still a bag I could not live without. Best handbag investment I think I’ve ever made. AND it was on sale. That’s saying something!!

imageJ’adore Necklace – Like a purse is a must-have accessory, so are pieces of jewelry. You don’t have to invest a lot of money to have seasonal, in-style statement pieces but once in a while, you need to invest in a piece that is just you. A piece you can wear any time, any place and feel so comfortable in it you forget you’re wearing it. And if you take care of it it can last a long time, becoming your signature piece. Just like Carrie had her name on a gold necklace that she wore in almost every episode of Sex and the City, I have a necklace that I had to have the moment I saw it. I discovered on clearance on Nordstrom’s website. My necklace isn’t my name, but it is very Carrie-like: it’s says “J’adore”. Not only did I love it in gold, but I hunted it down in silver as well. Now I can wear my “statement piece” with whatever my outfit calls for, while still feeling NYC chic!

So that is my list of glamour and fashion “don’t touch!” items in my ensemble. We all have a few, and I’m sure the time will come to add a few more. What about you? What things can you think of that, if they were to disappear, would leave you mourning for a long while? The items you can’t imagine not being there if you needed them. They are your total comfort items, your glamour security blankets. Do you have a few too? I want to know! Share with me a photo if you have one. I want to see your must have’s too!